Endogenous electric fields are generated lateral to skin wounds, with the cathodal pole of the field residing in the center of the wound. These fields are thought to be an important mechanism in guiding the migration of keratinocytes and other cells into wounds to effect healing. In this work, human dermal fibroblasts were exposed to direct current electric fields of physiological strength, and their migrational behavior was quantitated. Only random migration of human dermal fibroblasts was observed in direct-current electric fields under conditions that support the directional migration of human epidermal keratinocytes. Additionally, neither the presence of serum nor serum plus additional Mg++ in the experimental medium supported directional migration. Migratory rates of fibroblasts varied depending on the experimental medium used in serum-containing medium the average velocity was as low as 0.23 micro m/min, while in serum-free keratinocyte medium the average velocity was as high as 0.36 micro m/min. These studies suggest that dermal fibroblasts do not respond to the endogenous electric field of a wound, and use other migratory cues to direct their movement into the wound bed.